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Drop Student Fees

Press release
Drop Student Fees
30 Sep 2016

QPEC believes that the central question to ask of the Productivity Commission's proposals on tertiary education is, What is in the best public interest?

Among many items, two issues stand out: interest on student loans, which the Commission wants to re-introduce; and student fees. With debt at over $15 billion, defaulters at over $1 billion and the young generation staggering under the combination of student debt and huge living and housing costs, we think the Productivity Commission’s recommendations on fees and debt are daft.

We believe it would be in the best interests of the country as a whole to abolish fees altogether, and to drop talk of interest on loans. For that to happen, we want a commitment from government to fund the tertiary sector appropriately.

The cost of studying and incurring loans is already prohibitive for students. But there are many advantages to abolishing fees. Here are some:

• a wider cross-section of the population would get access to tertiary study
• debt would not act as a barrier to study among the poor, Māori and Pasifika
• women would get a greater chance to attend tertiary education without a lifetime of debt, given women's persistently lower incomes
• students would have more opportunity to complete study sooner if they didn't have to also work their way through tertiary in low-paid service jobs
• graduates would be more inclined to stay and contribute back to NZ, because they would no longer need to go overseas for high-paying jobs to pay down student loans

The cru tertiary sector provides a bedrock of education, qualifications, scholarship, research and critical inquiry for the strength of the nation. It is essential investment in the future of the country.

For this reason, we need a government that will commit unequivocally to proper funding of tertiary education that is in the best interests of the nation, particularly future generations who will have to maintain it.

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